Church yesterday was actually really interesting - we had 5 English speakers in Relief Society - Alisha (a member that is here teaching English for a few months - she has been coming for about a month or so now), Joanna, and then a member that lives up north but was just in Sapporo for the weekend. Because Alisha has been here for a while, for the past few weeks I have actually been translating all three hours of church for her every week! It is by no means a perfect translation, but it is enough for her to understand what's going on :)
She is American, and has been in Japan for about 2 years teaching English, and doesn't really have any plans to go home. She lived in Tochigi before, and just moved to Sapporo a week ago - we met her on her second day here. We invited her to come and see what our church services are like - and she came yesterday! She stayed the full three hours - and then we had a lesson after church as well - we were able to teach her the full lesson one about the restoration. She grew up Catholic, but doesn't really agree with all of its teachings - she likes to learn about a lot of different religions and then take the good things from each one and create kind of her own truth from that. She is therefore really willing to learn - and I think implement pieces of the gospel in her life, but it will take a little while for her to accept the idea of there being "whole truth" and one right way. But it was a really great meeting, and we have another appointment for this week!
She is Japanese, and her name is ゆりあ, but when she lived in Australia during High School she decided to spell it with an L - she is 22 years old and living by herself now working two jobs in order to save money and move out of Japan. She is planning on going to Canada in November of this year - but I think she ultimately wants to go back to Australia. She is a really sweet girl, that has been through a lot in her life. We met her last week at the park - I guess it was her first time ever taking her pet bunny, Chewy, to the park - and when she did she met us! We were able to teach a lot of the Plan of Salvation to her that day - she had thought a lot about in the past about what happens after we die - we made an appointment to talk more about it, and actually got to go with Shibata Hatsue shimai (one of Janna's old missionary companions!) and had a really good lesson with her. She has so many questions, and is really open to listening to our message. She is a little hesitant about rules and commandments and "restrictions" that religion might have, but those kind of commitments come after a development of faith. We focused a lot on God's love - and letting her now that the love that she hasn't really been able to find in her family or other relationships thus far in her life is there for her anytime. She prayed for the first time ever together with us, and committed to try it on her own. I think if she can feel God's love for her it would make SUCH a big difference in her life.
Dear Family,This week was a great week! We have seen so many miracles, and we are really starting to see the work in this area pick up a lot - I think it is all from the bean power from Sister Osterloh :) Bean power is very real! I will tell you about some of our new investigators that we have found this week.
Another miracle that we had this week, was that we were able to for the first time since I have been in this area - which is about two months now - we were able to meet with Takahashi Erika san! She is an investigator that had a baptismal date before, but due to a lot of different things she wasn't able to progress. But we met with her this week, and she said that she still has a desire to be baptized! She wants to change her life and restart. We were able to set another date with her - and we are going to do our best to help her actually achieve this goal! We have it set for 7/21. Pray for her, and for us!
Other exciting things that happened this week was a Sister Trainers Training Meeting that we had for all the sisters in the mission with workshops from President and Sister Evans, the Assistants to the President, and our Sister Training leaders- the sisters in our mission are basically doubling in number over the next two transfers which means that everyone here right now will have to become trainers. So they had a special training to prepare us for that. The other fun, unusual thing this week was the Yosakoi dance festival that went on at Odori Koen - I sent some pictures of that - if I time I will try and send a few more, but it was just a fun Sapporo cultural experience!
Well, Dendo is going great! We are having lots of fun, and seeing so many miracles every day! Sister Osterloh is a great companion, and a fabulous missionary - I feel so blessed to be her trainer!
In personal study this morning I came across a really good quote from Anonymous (he seems to have a lot of good things to say... :) )
" Everything will be alright in the end. If it is not alright, it is not the end."
Everything really does work out for the best in the end - we just have to work until we get there!
I love this work, and this gospel, and all of you! Thank you for all of your support and love!
The Odori apartment at Odori Koen :) It's a three generation shot - my trainer, me, and my bean-chan! And Crofts shimai too :)
We got stopped at the park and we were asked to write our relationship to each other and take a picture to be put in some sort of slideshow that these students were creating - I'm not sure exactly what it was for, but they took one on our camera too!
At the Yosakoi festival! It is a super famous Japanese dance festival that they have every year at Odori Koen - We were able to trade some of our P-day time to go and see it - it was a blast! I don't have a picture, but they had another area where they teach any one who wants to part of the dance - it was a very cultural experience, and a lot of fun! At one point a photographer even came over and took pictures of Sister Osterloh and I, so who knows maybe we'll end up on their website someday! :)